3 NEW truths about millennials

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It’s that time of year again! The Millennial Impact Report was released yesterday and straight from the rockstars at Achieve and JGA, it’s chock full o’ goodness once more. I encourage you to read the full report (and last year’s learnings) when you get a sec, but here are my biggest take aways.  Also, I’m honored to join the official blogging team for MCON12 a virtual conference on engaging millennials.  Read on and win your ticket!!

1. Update your toolkit, and your expectations

Most know that there’s no magic bullet tool to do anything, let alone engage millennials in your cause. But do you know which tool to use for which action? According to the results, most millennials are introduced to a cause by a peer or through social media, like to learn more about organizations via their website and interact with the organization most through email and Facebook on their smartphone. Keep in mind, the emails you’re sending to millennials MUST be mobile friendly and succinctly share the direct action you’d like them to take. Oh, and very, very few check-in when they visit a nonprofit (Foursquare less than Facebook).

2. The volunteer continuum

Millennials have a lot to offer and while busy, enjoy sharing their time. In the recent past, many organizations have created ‘young professional groups’ to mobilize millennials to work together and build a community of supporters to engage their peers. As it turns out, the report discovers a volunteer continuum that actually positions this group toward the end, rather than the beginning, of the continuum.  It’s best to start with micro-volunteering opportunities (Retweeting, liking or true micro-tasks), then one-time volunteering, followed by group volunteering (with friends or coworkers) and culminating in leadership roles on committees or boards.

3. The ROI of engaging millennials

Organizations often dismiss any real value of engaging millennials because they don’t donate large amounts of money.  If they do engage millennials, the thinking is that cultivating them now will result in loyal supporters in the future. Yet, we know how finicky millennials can be. According to the study, millennials provide the most value by raising funds from their family & friends, spreading the word (likely via social media) and volunteering at (or participating in) walks & runs.

Tell me what you found most revealing about the report (in the comments) and I’ll give one random commenter a free ticket to MCON12! ($125 value)!

14 thoughts on “3 NEW truths about millennials

  1. I can’t say I was totally surprised by the results, but I love that they take the time to put this report out because it’s definitely helpful when you’re trying to convince your ED or Board to pay attention to millennial donors. I like #2, I think millennial are also hesitant to sign on for a big time commitment (like joining a committee) when they’re not sure about the end result. I started a young professionals committee at my last job, but we pulled from people who had already been volunteering in some other way.

  2. Agreed Jess. #2 threw me off a bit. It seems YPBs are all the fad lately but maybe we should only start them when our organizations are truly ready and engaged millennials prior!

  3. Finally…a report that truly understands Millennials! I love the section that focuses in on what types of volunteer activities Millennials like to participate. I hate that everyone non-profit assumes that “young people” want to run their social media pages or do advocacy work. This is a page that every volunteer coordinator should review!

  4. It may be a lazy observation, but what I found most revealing was the tagline that appears BEFORE the executive summary: “Stop trying to figure out Millennials and just include them.” It’s tempting to view Millennials as different, but my outreach priorities have always been to engage each donor/volunteer/stakeholder as an individual…not as a representative of his or her generation. Continual corporate evolution is needed to incorporate young people into our missions, but sometimes, it’s OK to start the process before you fully understand an entire generation.

    Now, pardon me while I shake my fist at some young ruffians on my lawn.

    1. Matthew – Great observation. That is exactly why we started the report that way. While this generation may have some notable differences having grown up around rapidly changing technology, our three years of research has repeatedly told us that when it comes to supporting nonprofits their motivations are just like other generations. Unfortunately, not all organizations realize this. It is shocking how often “never been asked” came up in response to a variety of questions regarding giving and volunteering in both focus groups and the survey.

  5. What struck me was the volunteer engagement flow — from micro volunteering to 1x to group volunteering to assuming a leadership role. I’ve had a couple of false-starts with nonprofits where I was asked to participate at a high-level before I had a chance to do something small for the organization. I want to engage with a new nonprofit, and I’m defintely looking to follow the path the report outlines.

  6. One time volunteering was new to me! Runs and walks…..I thought many of these runs and walks were not very profitable–at least not when I was first involved with them–that was decades ago–definitely not a millenial! 🙂

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